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Life

Sunday

It’s been four days since I last emptied my head into the keyboard. Almost unheard of. A good friend mentioned earlier that she needs inspiration to write – I replied that in the past writing has often been my happy place. I guess a part of that comes from the chaos that typically surrounds me, and the solitude required to write. Finding a quiet room, and an hour to myself can sometimes be challenging.

This afternoon I’m sitting in the peace and quiet of the junk room (when not being summoned to help lift heavy things, or reach high-up things). We were out for most of the day at the final rugby fixture of the season – a “friendly” about half an hour from home. It seems odd calling it the “final” fixture, because there have only been a handful since lockdown restrictions were lifted somewhat. I wonder what the trickle-down effect of the pandemic will be over the next several years – for a generation of young people, twelve months has essentially been erased from their lives.

I re-started the “Couch to 5K” running programme last week, and everything went well through the first two runs – then somehow on Friday I managed to pull a muscle while reaching down to a clothes basket while hanging washing out, and did something to the achilles tendon on my right leg. It’s a bit swolen, but strangely hurts more while walking than it does while running. I’ll try stretching it over the next few days, and do the next few runs very slowly – to figure out if it’s getting better or worse. If push comes to shove I’ll get out on the bike instead of running for a while.

I watched the first episode of “Breaking Bad” late last night. I’m not really sure why I stayed so far away from it in the past – I guess part of it might be because it deals with drug culture. I’ve known people who fell into that world – it’s almost like a switch flicks in my head when the subject comes up, and I immediately lose interest. Seeing Bryan Cranston shout “F*CK YOU, AND F*CK YOUR EYEBROWS” was pretty funny though.

In other news an entire ant civilization seems to be trying to establish a foothold in our kitchen. Unfortunately for them we are armed with all manner of poisons – which are now distributed in “traps” at strategic locations about the place. It’s difficult – the first instinct is to exterminate them on-sight, but we really need them to take the poison back to the nest to wipe the rest out.

Anyway. I’m rambling.

If I haven’t commented on your blog for a few days, I can only apologise – I’ve been “out of the loop” for the last few days. I will be back. I always return. I just don’t always know how soon.

Categories
Life

Friday

The staycation is coming to an end. Friday has arrived, supported by coffee, and bacon sandwiches. I woke a little after 6am, then convinced myself to sleep for another hour. I’m not sure why I’ve been waking up so early recently. At least it gives me time to do this – write a few words – before the rest of the house appears.

Spotify is quietly humming away in the background – filling the room with a supposedly relaxing playlist. It sounds more like angst and longing to me.

Earlier this week I ventured out of the house for the first time in months – escorting my youngest daughter to meet some of her friends in a nearby town. We travelled by bus, wearing masks throughout the journey. Along the way I discovered that none of her circle of friends had correct phone numbers for each other, and none of them knew where they were, other than “on the bus”. They had pre-arranged to meet at the bus station, and more by luck than judgement managed to do just that. I’ve begun to suspect that when together their common sense is far greater than the sum of their individual parts. The best part of the day? When they called each other after getting home, to make sure each other got home in one piece.

After waving goodbye to my daughter I wandered over to a used video game store, and picked up an arm-full of last generation video games. Ten old games for the price of a cinema ticket. I thought my middle daughter might have an accident when she saw the games (she has always been the gamer – her sisters not-so-much).

While on the subject of electronics, I resurrected a laptop yesterday – robbing parts from two old laptops to make one half-decent one. It’s sitting on the desk next to me, with a fresh install of Manjaro Linux installed. When I summon some enthusiasm later, I’ll finish installing it. My youngest daughter walked in while two of the laptops were in pieces across the desk – with circuit boards and screws everywhere. She recoiled in horror – “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Thankfully I’m pretty good at putting things back together.

Late last night I got sucked into watching a few episodes of “Chicago Fire” with my other half. I did a double take when some cast members from “Chicago Med” showed up in an episode – apparently there are several series that cross story-lines on a regular basis – among them PD, Fire, Med, and Justice. One particular story crossed three of the shows in consecutive episodes. I love it when TV shows do things like that.

Anyway.

I think it’s time for another coffee.

Categories
Life

It’s a Serious Business

Somehow it’s already the first of August. How the hell did that happen? You know how you’re about to step in a huge dog turd, and you notice at the last moment, and do an enormous step? It feels like the world did that between February and August.

For the first few months of lock-down, we saved SO much money – thousands – and then of course the cat got sick, and wiped out his own insurance, and all of our savings. I guess I can look back at the last few months and realise that I’m lighter and fitter than I was – although I haven’t run for the last few days. I really need to get out tomorrow morning for a run.

Today I seem to have the beginnings of a cold. I’m crossing my fingers that it isn’t. I’m wondering if it’s down to a friend visiting unannounced yesterday afternoon. Our entire house has been in lock-down since February, with only two small groups of friends, and my in-laws visiting throughout (and even then, they were all outside). Yesterday a friend visited, and sat in the lounge with the rest of the family, completely ignoring any sort of social distancing. I made myself immediately scarce, because I didn’t want to have the awkward “um, what they hell?” conversation.

Lots of hot tea, and an early night ahead for me.

In other news, we started watching “The Umbrella Academy” the other night – and even after one episode, I began thinking “here we go – another comic book story where the world is supposed to end, except they’ll save it just in time, and fight with each other along the way”. There’s a part of me that longs for a Star Trek episode where they crew meet something in the first five minutes of the episode that completely and utterly wipes them out, and the series ends, right there. The galactic version of the Spanish encountering the Mayans. That’s a bit dark, isn’t it.

I ended up re-watching the first few episodes of “Halt and Catch Fire” late last night – to remind myself just how good it was. I might have to go back and watch Mr Robot too – although once the suspense and misdirection has gone, a lot of it’s draw will be removed.

I’m still bitter that “The OA” got cancelled.

Over the past few weeks – while not blogging – I’ve carried on with the flight simulation idiocy. I’m a pretty proficient pretend Boeing and Airbus pilot now. I have no doubt these skills will come into play one day while travelling with work, as a gorgeous, panic stricken air hostess runs down the aircraft and asks “DOES ANYBODY KNOW HOW TO FLY A COMMERCIAL JET?”. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it while shaking like a leaf, with pee in my shoes though.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more tea to drink. It’s a serious business, this tea drinking lark.

Categories
Life

Hiding Out

I’m hiding out in the lounge. My other half has taken over the junk room (where the big computer lives), and is trying to cut together a video for the infant school with each of the staff members singing and dancing along to a pre-agreed music track, along with their children.

She started learning how to use the video editing software half an hour ago. The kind of video editing software you might use to make a movie. It doesn’t help that everybody’s video has been uploaded to a shared drive in portrait, landscape, with borders, without borders… so yeah – she’s going to have to rotate each clip, scale each clip, cut each clip, and re-assemble the various clips – all while keeping it in time with a backing music track.

It’s going to take hours. Especially as she’s learning as she goes. The only piece of advice I gave before running from the room in fear of my life was to use a parallel video channel to edit clips, and drop them into the “real” timeline after they looked ok.

I might not know a lot, but I’ve learned enough through doing the podcast to know how not to mess up everything you’ve already done in a huge hurry. I’ve already warned my other half that after an hour doing this, she knows more about video editing than anybody we know, and will be roped into editing videos for everybody over the next however many years.

My late father in law taught me an invaluable life lesson – never, ever be good at anything that anybody else needs somebody to be good at. I laughed when he first told me, but over the years I’ve learned through bitter experience that he was absolutely right. If you have a sought after skill, keep a damn good lid on it.

I suppose some people can’t hide their skills really. Take Gordon Ramsay, for instance – I wonder if his neighbours ever call up, asking “I’ve bought some bacon but have no clue how to wrap it round the chicken – can you spare a few minutes?”.

In recent years, the only time I’ve broken cover was to help a friend with her website. The site was pretty badly borked, and the person that usually looks after it was at a loss too. Within an hour I had rescued it from the fire, hacked my way through the back end, re-set passwords throughout, run updates, and handed her the keys to her shiny new online house. Here’s the thing though – she didn’t take advantage.

I love people that don’t take advantage. Unfortunately they seem to be in the minority. Some people’s entire existence seems to centre around taking what they can from others – exploiting, and using. Their lack of tact, empathy, guilt, or shame always amazes me.

Anyway!

I’m having a wonderful time sitting here in the quiet – eating chocolate biscuits, drinking coffee (I already had two glasses of wine), and half watching ridiculous TV shows on Netflix. Joel McHale keeps trying to talk me into binge-watching his show, but I’ve already promised to watch the second part of Dracula with my daughter.